Even Recap: San Diego Comic Con International 2019

On July 18-21st, the San Diego Convention Center hosted its biggest and arguably most fun event of the year: Comic Con. And this year, for the first time, I was fortunate enough to attend. SDCC is acclaimed for is fantastic Hall H panes, its fabulous stands of fan-made art and official merchandise, its booths of magical colorful posters and pins. Over 150,000 people attend this legendary event this year, and, as one of those lucky people, I’m going to tell you how it went down.

Now, while SDCC actually occurs in July, tickets are bought in early November and December, and are extremely difficult to get your hands on. The actual Convention takes place at the San Diego Convention Center and the Marriott next door to it. It consists of hundreds of rooms and halls in which the legendary panels and game shows are hosted, including the magnificent Hall H. On the ground floor, the huge event hall takes up the majority of the space, and this is where you will find various stands, official and fan-run, selling anything and everything fan-related.

I myself didn’t attend many panels, only 2, but both of them were fantastic. I spent most of my time doing two things: loitering around the official Marvel booth, and wandering around the event hall. Even so, it was an amazing experience. Although tickets can be expensive, I honestly think the experience is worth it if you’re a fan of anything present at the Con. And there is no shortage of options, either. The booths and panels range from superhero to anime to video games. It’s truly a place for all kinds of people to come together and celebrate the one thing they all share: obsession.

Overall, I couldn’t have had more fun at SDCC 2019. It’s truly one of the most entertaining events of the year, and I’m super excited to attend next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that… But in all seriousness, if you’re a superfan of almost anything at all, I recommend going to SDCC.

-Arushi S.

Event Recap: Symphony In The Cities

On Saturday, July 27th, the City of Mission Viejo hosted The Symphony in the Cities at Newhart Middle School. I was fortunate enough to volunteer at the symphony, being stationed at the “Instrument Petting Zoo.” I helped teach children how to play a variety of instruments, including violin, viola, trumpet, flute, and a few types of percussion instruments.

Although it was an extremely hot, the even was really fun. There were horse drawn carriages, bountiful stands and booths for entertainment, and ice water so that everyone stayed hydrated. The entire event was free (excluding ticket costs) and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra also performed at 7 PM.

All of the volunteer coordinators were super knowledgeable and kind, and they answered any questions we had. It was extraordinarily well-organized, and the kids loved our booth! (At least, they seemed to.)

Additionally, the Symphony was an incredible opportunity for me to make friends. The volunteers are my booth and I all got super close throughout the course of the extreme heat of our 4-hour shift. We are actually making plans to volunteer at more evets like this already!

Overall, Mission Viejo’s Symphony in the Cities was a really fun, albeit boiling, event. I enjoyed volunteering and teaching children about one of my passions, and I loved watching the orchestra perform. I ardently recommend this event, and if you didn’t go this year, you should plan to go in 2020. It really is a treat!

-Arushi S.

Reading Rocks! An Event Summary

Reading Rocks! is a great volunteer opportunity for the summer! Teens can come in and be read to by an elementary school age child practicing their reading skills, keep up their reading over the summer, and gain confidence in reading. You help the child pick out a book they are interested in from a book cart, give gentle corrections of mispronunciations, and provide lots of encouragement to keep them motivated! If you have younger siblings, this is a great opportunity for them to improve their reading skills.

The program runs every Saturday from June 15 to August 31. There is a mandatory one-time orientation you must attend, and they occur 15 minutes before each session at 10:45. The program starts at 11:00 and runs till 10:45, so it’s 45 minutes long, but you can count it as an hour of volunteering. Grab an application and sign up at the Mission Viejo Library’s Children’s Reference Desk! 

Parents, you can sign up your child for this program by visiting the Children’s Reference Desk or calling 949-830-5107.

-Kaitlyn S.

Visiting the Charles M. Schulz Museum!

I went to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa and it was an amazing experience! Charles M. Schulz  created the comic strip Peanuts and all the characters like Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy that we know and love.

I got to learn about Schulz’s life and see a replica of his study where there was a video that showed footage of Schulz drawing his characters and describing them. There were so many old, original comics to read which was really fun and interesting. There were also descriptions beside each comic explaining why Schulz would incorporate a certain object, sport, or emotion. An example of this would be hockey because he played the sport professionally for a few years and included it in a few comics.

Additionally, there were many interactive features such as a huge dog bowl, Snoopy dog house, and thought/speech bubbles also you could make your own comic book scene. There was also an recorded interview of Donna Wold, the real person who inspired the Little Red-Haired Girl in Schulz’s comics, that you could listen to through headphones.

It was such a fun experience to visit this museum, read comics, and learn more about Charles M. Schulz and it’s something you should definitely do if you’re in the Santa Rosa area!

-Kaitlyn S.

Places to Visit in San Diego during Spring Break

Recently, my school got out for spring break so my family and I decided to take a trip down to San Diego. For some reason, I thought it took at least four hours to get from Mission Viejo to San Diego but it only took 1 hour and 20 minutes (and that was with pretty bad traffic!)

Before we left, I looked up some places to visit that my family would enjoy and I was satisfied with what I found. Some fun places to visit are: San Diego Zoo, San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley, Balboa Park, Downtown San Diego, Old Town San Diego, USS Midway Museum, La Jolla Beach, and more!

For the San Diego Zoo, adult tickets (ages 12+) are $56 and child tickets are $46 for 1 day-passes. Prices for the San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley are $42 for adults (12+) and $25 for kids ages (4-12). Tickets for children under 4 years old are free!.

For Balboa Park, the One-Day Explorer Pass allows you to visit up to 5 of any museum in the park. For adults (ages 13+), the cost is $46 and for children (ages 3-12), the cost is $27. Just visiting for the day? Choose the One-Day Explorer Pass, which allows you to go to as many as five of the park’s participating museums. The cost is $46 for adults (ages 13+) and $27 for children (ages 3-12). 

Most of the tourist spots in San Diego do not require admission to get it like Downtown and Old Town San Diego, but some locations do.

Overall, I loved visiting the wonderful city of San Diego and I cannot wait to go back! I hope that this article was helpful to those who would like to visit San Diego one day!

-Phoebe L.

Theater Review: Dear Evan Hansen

The Tony-winning Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen is currently on tour around the US, and I was lucky enough to snag tickets for a show in Costa Mesa. I had already listened to the soundtrack more times than I could count, but I was ridiculously excited anyway. Dear Evan Hansen is one of my favorite musicals of all time, and it is the second musical ever that I have seen live. And, let me tell you, it was a treat.

This musical addresses one of today’s biggest issues: teen suicide and anxiety. The main character, Evan Hansen, has extreme social anxiety, and his therapist tells him to write positive letters to himself. However, when he prints a failed version one of these letters (it was very pessimistic) out in his school’s computer lab, Connor Murphy, a fellow student, snatches it from him and shoves him. Later, the characters find that Connor has committed suicide, and they find Evan’s letter in his pocket. They think that the letter is Connor’s suicide note, addressed to Evan, and them Evan and his family friend, Jared, get dragged into a huge mess of lies and deception. Evan and Jared write fake emails to Connor to “prove” that they are friends, and they start a huge project to spread awareness for Connor’s death. Evan even gets together with his long-time crush, Zoe Murphy, who also happens to be Connor’s sister.

However, nothing this perfect can last, especially if it is based on a lie. Evan’s mom finds out about the Connor project and how he has been spending almost every night at the Murphys’ home. The whole charade falls apart, Evan eaves the Connor Project, and he and Zoe break up. Although he and Zoe do make peace at the end of the musical, I was still in tears throughout the entirety of Act 2.

Although the soundtrack was very differet from the actual live musical, both are thoroughly enjoyable. Dear Evan Hansen is one of my favorite musicals of all time for its storyline and beautifully written characters, and seeing it live is not something that I will ever forget. This musical is truly fantastic, and I would definitely encourage seeing it if possible.

-Arushi S.

Mission Viejo Haunted Escape Room

This Saturday, October 27, 2018, my friends and I went to the Mission Viejo Library escape room. I had never gone to an escape room before, and this was a great introduction. In the escape room, our group had to solve various challenges to figure out how to open the padlocked large box. In the box, there was a cure which would save us from the witch’s curse. This backstory helped motivate us to break the locks.

The first key that we found was under the lamp, which opened a smaller box. In that box, we found a battery and a key. We didn’t know what to do with these, so we started looking around and discovered that one of the books on the shelf was fake. It turned out there was a lockbox inside. We used the key we found earlier and opened the lockbox. Inside was a blacklight flashlight which we then put the batteries in. We walked around the room and looked at everything with the flashlight. We found a padlock with three different locks. One lock had different letters it that was opened by various cards we found on the table. Another padlock was solved through different highlighted numbers on a piece of paper that we found taped to the wall. Also taped to the walls were clock hands pointing in different directions that matched the third padlock. When we unlocked the final set of locks, we were finally able to open the box!

I really liked the spiderwebs and skeleton decorating the room as well as the scary music because it gave the whole atmosphere a scary vibe. Overall, this was a fun and challenging experience, and I am looking forward to doing more escape rooms!